Valtteri Bottas says he won’t rule out battling for the Formula 1 world title and if he finished behind Sebastian Vettel in the championship he would have failed to reach his targets for 2017.

The Mercedes driver remains third in the F1 drivers’ standings after his podium finish in the Singapore Grand Prix but has closed the gap down to Vettel to 22 points with six races remaining.

While Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says he won’t solely back Hamilton for the world drivers’ title yet, Bottas feels while it’s still mathematically possible he won’t give up on a maiden F1 world crown but says another primary goal is to finish ahead of both Ferrari drivers.

“I wouldn’t, definitively, be meeting my targets for the year [by finishing behind Vettel] but if we would win the constructors’ championship that would make me feel a little bit better,” Bottas said. “But I’m not here to finish third, I definitely want to be fighting for the title for as long as there is the possibility for that.

“I need to start finishing ahead of Seb and Lewis if I want to keep the title hopes alive. And rather sooner than later and, for sure, this race is important, because the end of the season is coming closer.

“If I’m not first then I want to be second; if not second then I want to be third and so on. I really want to make the most out of this end of the year and I always set my targets pretty high up. Third is not what I want.”

Bottas trails F1 championship leader Lewis Hamilton by 51 points after the British driver’s win at the Marian Bay Street Circuit but the Finn has helped Mercedes to a commanding 102-point lead in the F1 world constructors’ championship after Ferrari’s double DNF.


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